Sutton-SSC Semi Final We won 1-3 (For Kev Sheppard)
It was a third trip to Sutton for the G’s having won the two previous SSC finals that they qualified for against Sutton at Gander Green Lane. The memory of the Scott Harris winner three years ago still fresh in my memory.
We knew that Vanarama League South side Sutton would not field their whole first team but would still prove to be a tough hurdle to jump.
The new floodlights and 3G pitch made the whole experience different to three years ago but it seemed to suit the G’s.
They fielded the Oneal Garnes in goal, Liam Roberts at right back, Graeme Purdy and Chris Musgrove and Nick Hutchings at Left back, Ashley Lloyd in front of the back four, Will Hutton, Steve Laidler, Louis Hutton and Darren Wheeler in the midfield with Danny Bassett upfront.
On the bench were Iven Kumanda, Charlie Hutton (who is still feeling his hamstring injury) Piers Oldland, Rory Sellick and it was good to see Richard Ossai.
The G’s were in the new all white away strip and started as smartly as they looked having the bulk of the possession for the first ten minutes Louis Hutton hitting a typical shot just wide of the right hand upright and Danny Bassett proving to be a handful for the home defenders who struggled with his pace and movement.
It was somewhat against the run of play therefore when on 14 minutes the G’s defence seemed to be rather generous in not clearing the ball and allowing the Sutton number 7 Tom Bolarinwa to jink his way through them from the Sutton left wing and shoot past the G’s goalie when one on one.
In reply Danny Bassett minutes later saw his fierce shot well saved by the home goalie diving low after a good build-up.
Sutton then seemed to be in an equally generous mood when they contrived to gift an own goal to the G’s when a poorly struck ball from their defence found its way past their keeper. 1-1 on 22 minutes.
Three minutes later the lively Danny Bassett found himself on the end of a lofted pass which he was able to lift over the Sutton keeper to give the G’s their second goal of the evening and settle the nerves a little for the visiting supporters.
This spurred the G’s on to further attacks. Always the best form of defence in my book. Will Hutton worked his way through and hit a fine low shot from an angle that was saved by the home stopper.
Sutton sought to hit back but could not produce too much to bother Oneal Garnes.
Louis Hutton following another good passing move chipped the ball into the danger area where Darren Wheeler got the slightest of touches with his head and the ball landed just wide of the goal where Danny was just unable to poke it home. Louis who was getting forward well saw another of his shots from the edge of the box fly over the crossbar.
Just before half time Sutton got the ball in the G’s net again but the referee had already blown for a foul by Graeme Purdy (for which he received a yellow card). The free kick saw Oneal Garnes make a fine stop at full stretch to push the ball round the post for a corner.
So at half time it remained 1-2 to the G’s.
Aiden Brown came on for Sutton to replace the No 7 goal scorer Tom Bolarinwa who had shown how dangerous he could be with the ball at his feet.
G’s continued to press for a third goal with Danny Bassett outstanding at the front chasing everything that came his way, whilst the defence marshalled by Captain Purdy seemed comfortable dealing with everything.
On 60 minutes the Sutton No 11 Jake Hammond was replaced in favour of Dinos Kalognomas.
Shortly after Darren Wheeler who had started to find more space wide on the left to torment and attack the Sutton defence was forced off after being injured in a tackle. Iven Kumanda came on to replace him.
The G’s were then awarded a free kick which was taken by Louis Hutton and was floated to the far post where Chris Musgrove, who was having a fine game in defence, topped it off by placing a deft header beyond the Sutton keeper and just inside the far post. Chris thought it was a bullet header in the bar after.
That really was the icing on the cake for the G’s and the previously vocal home supporters fell silent.
That led to the G’s pressing harder with Steve Laidler who had been dominating the centre of the pitch making a great run but somehow failing to capitalise in front of goal.
As the game came to the end of full time and an additional 5 minutes extra time was announced (from somewhere!!) the G’s continued to press for more and looked the more likely to add to the score, Iven hit a super shot that was well saved and a Danny Bassett shot from range hit the crossbar after a great build up passage of play.
Sutton tried to hit back on the break, but the G’s defence stood firm and the travelling away supporters were delighted to give the whole squad a rousing welcome as they came off the pitch.
From my point of view the Sutton team clearly had some very good individual players as you would expect, but this was a case of the whole G’s team from back to front giving a great performance and showing how on a good surface they can pass the ball along with the best. Cannot give a Man of the Match, although Danny must come close as did, Steve Laidler, Louis Hutton, Ashley Lloyd,…. in fact the whole squad did us proud.
Stats as usual by “Stats man Michael” who I hope is not too tired this morning.
Sutton Utd Godalming
Attempts 18 ( including 1 OG) 15
On target 8 (including 1 OG) 7
Corners 7 1
Fouls 12 (3OS) 13 (2OS)
poss 1 50 50
Poss 2 50 50
Ht score 1 2
FT score 1 3
bookings 0 1
Onwards to the Final at Woking against Merstham.